Aspects of disability law in Africa
Edited by Ilze Grobbelaar-du Plessis and Tobias van Reenen
ISBN: 978-1-920538-02-6
Pages: 304
Print version: Available
Electronic version: Free PDF available

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About the publication

In Africa, exclusion, prejudice and discrimination remain common experiences for millions of people with disabilities. Poverty, malnutrition, low school enrollment rates for children with disabilities, inadequate or inaccessible health care, and lower employment rates are shared features of the daily lives of persons with disabilities. Fragile states, post-conflict countries and natural disasters often exacerbate the conditions in which people with disabilities exist. As do negative cultural beliefs about disabilities and attitudes toward persons with disabilities which remain very real and deeply entrenched.

Despite these physical, structural and attitudinal barriers, we are beginning to make progress. The past 15 years, have witnessed some major achievements. Perhaps the most important is the supplanting of the medical model of disability by the social model. The social model conceptualises disability as arising from the interaction of a person’s functional status with their physical, cultural and policy environments. This in my view impelled the development of and the entry into force of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It has bolstered an unprecedented growth of Disabled People’s Organisations throughout the Continent. It has also increased political space for persons with disabilities evidenced by an increasing number of Disabled African Parliamentarians and finally it has wedged its way into constitutional and legislative frameworks recognising the rights of persons with disabilities.

Creating an enabling environment, with good laws, inclusive development policy and practice means understanding inequality in a complex way, and developing ways of working which acknowledge difference, rather than suppressing it. It means practicing as we preach, by transforming our own perceptions and stepping out of our comfort zones. This entails confronting issues of power, culture and inequality, acknowledging that disability is part of the human condition, and planning for more inclusive societies. Each one of us lives life as a carrier of multiple identities – including disability, race, gender, class and age. All these add up to determine our opportunities in life, to empower or disempower us, depending on our context. This book through the various chapters focuses on the implications that this has for disability, development and human rights.

About the editors:

Ilze Grobbelaar-du Plessis is a senior lecturer and holds the degrees BIuris LLB LLM LLD from the University of Pretoria.
Tobias van Reenen
is Professor of Law, University of the Western Cape.

Table of Contents

Charlotte McLain-Nhlapo
The contributors
Introduction to aspects of disability law in Africa
Ilze Grobbelaar-du Plessis & Tobias van Reenen

PART I: Humanitarian assistance, human rights and developments in African jurisdictions

  • Human rights and humanitarian assistance for refugees and internally displaced persons with disabilities
    Michael Ashley Stein & Janet E. Lord
  • The promotion and protection of disability rights in the African human rights system
    Japhet Biegon
  • Protecting the disabled in Botswana: An anomalous case of legislative neglect
    Jimcall Pfumorodze & Charles Fombad

PART II: The rights of children with disabilities in Africa

  • From pillar to post: Legal solutions for children with debilitating conduct disorder
    Trynie Boezaart & Ann Skelton
  • Domesticating international standards of education for children with intellectual disabilities: a case study of Kenya and South Africa
    Lorenzo Wakefield & Nkatha Murungi

PART III: Labour law, social security, development and policy

  • The right to equality in the workplace for persons with physical disabilities in Malawi: Does the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities offer any hope?”
    Victor Jere
  • The social security rights of caregivers of persons with disabilities
    Kitty Malherbe
  • International financial institutions and the attainment of the UN Millennium Development Goals in Africa – with specific reference
    to persons with disabilities
    Tobias van Reenen & Helene Combrinck
  • Protection of disabled employees in South Africa: An analysis of the Constitution and labour legislation
    Ilze Grobbelaar-du Plessis & Stefan van Eck
  • The rights of people with disabilities in Botswana: Legal, institutional and policy framework
    Bonolo Ramadi Dinopila


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